Nathan Alexander teaches a college algebra class in Dansby Hall at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Wednesday, April 24, 2019. ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Spelman, Morehouse each receive $1 million grants for faculty development

Two historically black colleges in Atlanta and another historically black university in Texas will each receive $1 million to support the development of faculty on their campuses, the schools announced Monday.

Morehouse College’s contribution is coming from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Spelman College is receiving $500,000 from Carnegie and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Prairie View A&M University, located near Houston, Tex., will receive $1 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The grants require the three schools to share best practices with each other and with the broader HBCU community.

Historically black colleges and universities have found it more difficult in recent years to recruit and retain faculty members, in part, because of greater interest from predominately white institutions. Georgia State University, for example, recently announced an effort to improve its faculty diversity. Georgia State has the largest enrollment of any university in the state. About 40% percent of its students are African American, but only 32% of its faculty are non-white.

Enrollment at the nation’s 101 HBCUs increased by 2% during the 2016-17 school year, to nearly 300,000 students, according to the most recent federal statistics. More than half of the nation’s black doctors, attorneys and judges come from HBCUs. 

Graduates wait to take their seats at the 132nd Spelman College commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at the Georgia International Convention Center. (Photo: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Spelman said it will use its funds to support to recruit and retain faculty as well as other purposes, such as  developing curriculum in emerging areas like data science and analytics.

Morehouse said it will use the funds for similar purposes and, additionally, to increase faculty research productivity by providing sabbaticals and seed funding for various projects. The college had planned staff furloughs to close a budget gap, but reversed course last month.

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